Fighting online identity theft and fraud

  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 24 Nov 2018

(From left) Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia head activist Datuk Nadzim Johan, Amirudin, Martin, CTOS product and marketing chief Keith Wardell launching CTOS SecureID in the hopes of increasing data protection among Malaysians.

GETTING a new credit card? Applying for a housing loan? Changed your credit limit? A SecureID from CTOS Data Systems, a credit reporting agency, will give you instant alerts on these activities via email or SMS.

Why get notifications to something that you already know about, you ask?

But wait, what if it was not you who had applied for that new credit card but an imposter who is using your name?

In his speech, CTOS group chief executive officer Dennis Martin said alerts provided by the company’s security authentication feature will warn subscribers of any suspicious activity, in particular, the unauthorised use of one’s personal details.

“With an alert system in place, people can then take corrective measures like contacting their banks to void a transaction, for example,” said Martin.

He said as Malaysia advances towards a digital economy, so does the threat of identity theft where one’s personal details such as IC number, birth date and bank account number can be used by criminals. In past cases, identity thefts have resulted in victims being saddled with heavy debts and left to face financial ruin.

In most cases, the victims reported they were unaware their identities had been used in loan and credit applications until creditors began demanding for repayments, some as long as three years later.

In view of the growing number of cases, CyberSecurity chief executive officer Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab said prevention is the best defence.

Amirudin, who was guest of honour at the launching of the agency’s digital security product, said where criminal acts are concerned, there are no guarantees culprits can be traced or victims be compensated for their losses.

As such, it would be in the best interest of everyone to take safeguarding measures, more so in cyberspace where stolen information can be used to access bank accounts, apply for loans and make purchases via credit cards.

“Even if we are able to find the criminals, it is still unclear in the legal process as to how they can be charged,” said Amirudin.

On concerns that agencies like CTOS would be a target for hackers looking to harvest valuable information from its data banks, Martin assured that although the agency had encountered many such attempts in its 25 years in operation, none had succeeded.

“We have spent a lot of time, money and effort to make sure our system and the information we hold is secure,” said Martin.

Likening their encryption system to a maximum security vault, Martin said the agency’s technical team had taken extra precautionary measures such as continuously keeping tabs on perpetrators who have attempted to breach their data banks.

The CTOS SecureID feature also provides alerts for missed payments, change of addresses and termination of credit facilities.

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